Recently, a pet owner asked this question on a Facebook group:
“I don’t know if my dog is anxious from moving to a new house but this morning she had really bad diarrhea…in her kennel! This has never happened before. What can I give her to help?”
It is not unusual for pet parents to find themselves faced with this problem. And while it is true that anxiety can sometimes play a role in aberrant behavior in our pets, that may not always be the case.
When I worked at the animal shelter in Elizabethtown, we had a dog that was at risk of being euthanized because he had a major problem with diarrhea. I had done some research on controlling diarrhea. I learned that nutrition can play a part in producing loose stools. In fact, if you feed your dog certain brands of dog food, you are more likely to encounter some nasty bouts of diarrhea. A natural solution to this problem is to give your dog canned pumpkin and plain yogurt.
Canned pumpkin helps the digestive system form solid stools. The yogurt helps introduce probiotics to regulate intestinal function.
I used both to help the Australian shepherd along with feeding a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice. After three days, the diarrhea was gone and the dog was adopted.
While I often recommend this strategy for correcting diarrhea in dogs, it is also important to note that medical conditions can also cause diarrhea in your dog. To rule out any medical conditions, you should seek veterinary help as soon as possible.
According to Dr. Karen Becker, this is a list of causes of diarrhea in your dog. Be advised, this list is not all inclusive.
- Dietary indiscretion
- Sudden change in diet
- Food allergies (could present as IBD or IBS in addition to itchy scratchy skin)
- Ingestion of foreign bodies (for example, rubber band or tree bark)
One major concern that accompanies diarrhea is dehydration. Because of this, if your dog’s diarrhea doesn’t clear up within a few days, it is very important to seek veterinary care. Your veterinarian may administer subcutaneous fluids or even recommend intravenous fluids to ensure your dog is well hydrated.
When I worked at the vet clinic, I often advised my clients by using empathy. How many times have you had an illness and you didn’t feel like eating? If your dog shows disinterest in eating while dealing with diarrhea, don’t get too upset about it. He is probably working through an illness. It is still a good idea to take him to the vet because inappetence could signal an infection or something else medically.
Here’s my three day plan for helping a dog recover from diarrhea.
Day One: Fast the dog. Offer no solid food for the first day to allow the GI tract time to reset and heal. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water.
Day Two: If your dog has an appetite, offer boiled chicken and rice. Add in a tablespoon of canned pumpkin and plain yogurt.
Day Three: Repeat day two. Monitor your dog’s waste for any changes. If the diarrhea is still present, schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
After the third day, if your dog shows improvement, slowly transition your dog back to his normal diet. Continue to offer the pumpkin and yogurt for up to one week.
Please note, this method will help clear up diarrhea. However, it may not correct any underlying health issues that may have caused it in the first place. To ensure there isn’t a medical problem, I cannot stress it enough: seek veterinary care.